Going Global With Social Media
Social media consulting agencies typically design campaigns targeted to domestic clients within the United States but with the proliferation of foreign social media users, reaching a global audience is rapidly becoming a top priority among small business owners. A quick peek at the data demonstrates why; for instance, in the United States over 85% of adults use at least one social media site but in South Korea, that percentage rises to an astounding 99% of all individuals with access to the Internet. It’s not a fluke; roughly 97 percent of Germans, Japanese and British users also shop online with social media providing a major impetus. In comparison, only 94 percent of American Internet users shop online even with the rapid adoption and proliferation of social media marketing.
Strategy versus Saturation
With numbers this large, it might seem like online shopping has already reached a saturation point but that isn’t the case. Instead of adding to the total number of shoppers, marketing experts are focused on increasing the frequency and value of online sales. Currently, the United States outspends all other nations but of course, that holds true in the traditional retail sales figures as well. What is perhaps more exciting is the rate of increase associated with emerging markets. China, Switzerland, Korea…they are all waiting to buy online with sales of everything from airline tickets and vacation destinations to books and antiques being bought up en mass. In fact, there are very few small business owners that wouldn’t benefit from increasing retails sales – including highly localized providers such as those that work in real estate. Foreign clients, a slumping economy and volatile exchange rates are creating upward pressure on online social media marketing and retail sales. For those small business owners that understand how to make the most of this opportunity, it is a once in a lifetime chance to capture an entirely new segment of the market and expand business beyond the borders.
Effective Social Media Sales & Marketing Strategies
Great! It all sounds so exciting but when it comes to actually getting started…well, that’s when things tend to fall apart. How many foreign buyers speak English? Will web translations actually work well enough to support sales? How can I create a foreign domain name and website much less use social media to attract clients? Is Facebook even available in the desired nation? These are just a few of the commonly encountered questions social media consultants face on a regular basis. The good news is – social media is a very effective way to reach foreign consumers – in fact, some populations spend up to 5 hours at a time on social media compared to mere minutes in the United States. On the other hand, breaking into the global business arena isn’t easy. Unlike other forms of social media marketing, this is no area for the DIY enthusiast. It requires superb technical skill and savvy to set-up international domain names, work with global social networks and even get ranked in various domain names. However, the rewards are well worth it especially if your small business has an international audience!
1. Understand the culture and country-specific attributes in advance. If you hope to attract international clients, it’s important to do your homework. Demographic trends, cultural elements and even the exchange rate are all factors that may impact your global social media reach. Put your best foot forward by providing your social media consulting firm with as much insight and information possible well in advance.
2. Take it for a test drive! We’ve all heard stories about a translation gone bad; even big business entities have been known to make major mistakes. When in doubt, hire a quick consultant to review the message and meaning well in advance. It’s often simple to find great talent for affordable rates via sites like Guru or eLance.
3. Compare the competition. It’s important to perform a bit of due diligence both on domestic and international competition! Remember, going global requires insight into not only what other American companies are doing to attract business but what other nations are up to as well. In terms of social media marketing, two things will quickly arise…either zero competition which means you will be a big fish in that niche area OR other sites actively engaged in attracting new clients in the targeted market. Don’t despair! While it might mean competition, it also may reduce the learning curve and provide superb insight into what works and what doesn’t. Remember, there is no need to re-invent the wheel! If it works – use it!
4. Time it Right. Timing is everything but especially when implementing a global social media campaign. One benefit of social media marketing is the ability to use “anytime/anywhere” communication but it is still important to align the major message with other milestone events when possible. Automate your social media messages to appear during peak hours or periods of high interest rather than those commonly encountered in the United States. Automation has the added benefit of providing periodic updates without the need for additional staff or adding time consuming tasks to your already busy schedule.
So, is going global really worth it? According to Nielsen Research and JP Morgan…Yes! In 2011 global e-commerce reached $681 Billion with only $187 spent in the United States. It is expected to reach an astounding $963 Billion by 2013 even in the midst of recession among many Western nations. High income households tend to shop online more than other income brackets and globe-trotters in particular have adopted online shopping and social media as preferred methods of buying and socializing across borders. In short, it’s a brave new world with clients reaching out beyond national borders to conduct business. Expand your horizons and grow your business with the help of global social media marketing strategies that work!